A Word About the Lightbulb “Ban”

We hear about this a lot here in the shop… A fear from our customers that incandescent lightbulbs are being “banned” and that none of the high efficiency bulbs look good in antique chandeliers and vintage sconces. While there is some truth to this, the new government regulations do not outlaw ALL incandescents. In fact, the regulations are based upon the amount of energy used and the life of the bulb rather than the technology. This October will see the cycling out of traditional 40 watt bulbs, with 60, 75 & 100 watt incandescents bulbs following within the next year. Traditional incandescent bulbs with a wattage below 40 will still be manufactured and available for sale.

The concern that comes from lovers and restorers of antique lighting is that the bulb options that we will be left with are limited to the “curly” compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs would be just fine in fixtures that have globes or otherwise non-visible bulbs. Though in fixtures where the bulbs can be seen it invariable takes away from the appearance of the lighting and compromises the authenticity of the restoration. Fortunately there are companies working to manufacture high efficiency incandescent bulbs that meet the new standards and still compliment vintage lighting.

Of course this legislation was put into place with efficiency of the bulbs in mind; one could hardly argue that that’s a bad idea. Certainly a push to have lightbulbs that consume less energy and last longer seems like a good idea. However, some people don’t like the light that CFL’s (compact fluorescents) or LED’s produce and some people find this lighting troubling and bothersome to the eyes. Manufacturers are also working to refine these technologies to make the light more pleasing and the shape of the bulbs more attractive. So by the time the ban is in full effect there should be many acceptable options to use in antique chandeliers and antique wall sconces.

For over 30 years The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques has been Washington’s most trusted source for all manner of antique home elements including doorknobs, tiles, stained & leaded glass, antique lighting (chandeliers, sconces & lamps) fireplace tools and mantles (to name a few things). Please feel free to stop by and see us. Even if you aren’t local to DC you can find a large selection of our items on our website. Don’t see what you need? Give us a call at 202-332-3370 or email us at info@thebrassknob.com. As our inventory is constantly changing it’s not always possible to get everything on the website; give us a call and we will do our best to find exactly what you need.